In 1835,

in the early days of railway construction,

the Great Western Railway was born.

The original main line ran

between London and Bristol,

a distance of 117 miles (187 kms),

which was opened throughout in June 1841.

What made the GWR

unusual was the choice of gauge.

Instead of building the railway

to what became the British

standard gauge of 4ft 8½ins,

the track was laid to a gauge

of 7ft 0¼ins (“broad gauge”).



Early Locomotives


Early Stations

The First Standard Locomotives

Bristol & Exeter Railway (1)


Gooch Locomotives

The Broad Gauge in South Wales

The Broad Gauge to Birmingham

London Paddington Station

The South Devon Railway

Passenger Rolling Stock

The Broad Gauge in Cornwall

Gauge Conversion

in South Wales and the Midlands

Accidents on the Broad Gauge

Bristol & Exeter Railway (2)

Armstrong & Dean Locomotives

Champions of the Broad Gauge

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 – 1859)

Daniel Gooch (1816 – 1889)

Charles Alexander Saunders (1796 – 1864)

Charles Russell (1786 – 1856)

Train Services

Broad Gauge in Retrospect

The End of the Broad Gauge